At the CarePoint, we met with each sponsor child and spent time with them in joyous company. We jump roped, painted faces, toes, and nails, kicked the balls, and shared smiles. It was a great day.
However, one friend was not there.
Our friend Moreen did not come to meet us at the CarePoint. I said to the CarePoint social worker, “We must find Moreen.” She responded that she lives very close, but it would be a very long walk. I asked, “How can that be?” She took me outside to the cliff that overlooks the valley and pointed to a patch of banana trees all the way across the valley and on the other side of the hills and said, “That is where Moreen lives.”
The men tried shouting across the open valley for her, but the direction of the wind was not in our favor. We decided that we would trek down to the valley and up the very steep hill, because she could not be left out!
On the way, we met women and children carrying heavy jerrycans of water and Irish potatoes on their head from the valley below. I was in awe. I complain when I have to carry my groceries from the car into the house! This encouraged my resolve. We had to get to Moreen. Every child matters. We couldnäó»t leave her out, even if it meant we had to climb to get to her. (I later learned that our hosts were traveling down this hill to fetch water for us six times a day. That level of hospitality and sacrifice overwhelms and humbles me.)
The descent was easier than the climb and all the muzungus were short winded by the time we reached the banana grove. My legs were shaky, my heart pounded profusely and sweat covered every inch of my body.
However, we quickly forgot our exhaustion when we were greeted by Moreen and a breathtaking view to top it off. Standing in front of Moreen’s modest tin roof home, we presented her with her sponsor care package and she carefully inspected each item that was so lovingly selected just for her. She was most smitten with her toy fairy dolls and pressed them to her chest with a grin. Her extended family began to gather and we exchanged more introductions and spent time in prayer and lively worship — stomp dancing on top of the world!
As with most things in life, the climb was excruciating, but my time on the hill was worth every grueling step to the top. Because Moreen matters.